Courage, Honor, & Accidental Teamkilling - Review of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Red Orchestra 2 fills the niche for WW2 gamers and Realistic Shooter fans - without sacrificing its fun

You're running through the dense fog, boots softly crunching on the snow. Your position was captured by the enemy, and you are now on the run. Only 80 meters to the treeline where it is safe.

Suddenly, shots are fired from behind you. The bullets hit the snow just a few inches from your legs. You won't make it to the treeline if you don't keep running.

Two more shots. One of them connects with your upper leg. With the last of your stamina, you dive behind a crater. You hurriedly and clumsily bandage your wound and turn to face the enemy. But you won't be the one doing the killing today. As he approaches your position, you hear a soft whistling in the distance. Half a second later, all that's left of the Bolshevik that nearly killed you is a stain on the ground. But you don't have time to enjoy this small victory, for the shells will kill both Friendly and Enemy troops. You once again start running towards the treeline, your retreat covered by mortar shells.

You make it to the treeline and expect to see your allies greeting you and congratulating you on your safe retreat. But all that meets you is a single bullet between the eyes.

Seems your allies mistook you for a Russian.

This, my friends, is Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, which centers around the Nazi invasion of Russia and subsequent counter-offensive by the Red Army, in its full glory. Inside the shell of buzzwords such as "Hardcore" and "Unforgiving", lies a gooey, creamy filling of "Fun" and "Intense".

This game walks the line between Battlefield and ArmA. And while it isn't for everyone, its appeal is certainly not restricted to the Hardcore Realistic Shooter crowd.

This game walks the line between Battlefield and ArmA. And while it isn't for everyone, its appeal is certainly not restricted to the Hardcore Realistic Shooter crowd. It can be enjoyed by anyone who has ever played a military shooter. Even the more competition-based titles like Call of Duty.

At its Core, a Very Simple Game

You have your standard Elimination and Team Deathmatch modes, along with the Territory mode, which is by far the most popular.

In Territory, there is an attacking and a defending team, and the pressure is on the attackers to capture every point (unless the map is a dual-attack map, in which case victory will be decided based on who has the most captured points) or exhaust the defenders' reinforcements before time runs out. This game mode is one of the most intense I've experienced in any game. As a defender, you will constantly be getting pushed back, attempting to delay the inevitable until time runs out. And as an an attacker, you will be constantly facing an entrenched enemy, racing against the clock. Players can respawn after a set amount of time on their Squad leader, or on a preset Spawn Point. Every player counts as a reinforcement; and when reinforcements reach zero, players will no longer be able to spawn. The maximum number of people in a server is 64, which makes for some pretty hectic battles.

Well Balanced Gameplay

There are many different classes, from Squad Leader, Machine Gunner, Sniper, and Tank/Anti-Tank Crew to the lowly Rifleman. But Rifleman is where you will spend most of your time playing. Other classes have very limited populations (usually from 3 to 9), yet Rifleman usually has 22 slots. Which means you had better learn how to work a bolt-action and work it well. You will often find yourself in situations where you are pinned down by machinegun fire, and you might think this is unfair. But you can always call for help, try to run, or make sure you stick with your Squad (no matter how good he is, he can't target everyone at once, can he?).  

Above all, cover should be your number one priority in this game. Once you're a few hours in, you'll most likely get used to looking for cover subconciously, without having to stop and scour the area, and it will save your life countless times. The firefights are short and intense, lasting between one and two shots. Accuracy is of utmost importance: you miss, and the enemy gets a free shot at you.

Shines When it Comes to Sound

From the sounds of the battle to the death screams of the soldiers, to the pleas of soldiers under fire (when you hear a German scream "I'm not supposed to die!", you'll know it's time to take a smoke break). And the graphics help with the immersion, even at lowest settings. They are done well and there are very few, if any, out-of-place textures. Though the game has its quirks, and can run sluggishly one some machines.

Overall

Red Orchestra 2 fills the niche for WW2 gamers and Realistic Shooter fans without sacrificing its fun. It is a very intense shooter that can provide hundreds of hours of replayability, and I highly recommend it.

Our Rating
9
Red Orchestra 2 fills the niche for WW2 gamers and Realistic Shooter fans - without sacrificing its fun

Featured Contributor

A dedicated gamer that loves sandboxes, realistic games, and long walks on the beach.

Published Sep. 24th 2013
  • The Examined Life (of Gaming)
    Contributor
    Also worth mentioning is the recent standalone expansion pack Pacific Storm, which is a whole new pacific theatre setting.
  • Zachary Welter
    Featured Contributor
    I was thinking of doing it. But I don't have the full version of Rising Storm, sadly, and I'd feel like I wasn't doing the game justice if I didn't play its other classes before judging it.

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